MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

CD: Crotchet
Download: Classicsonline


Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
String Quintet No. 1 in A major, Op. 18 (1826) [33:02]
Original Minuet of String Quintet No. 1 (1826) [5:26]
String Quintet No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 87 (1845) [31:57]
Fine Arts String Quartet; Danilo Rossi (viola)
rec. 23-24 March 2007, Il Bagno, Steinfurt, Germany
NAXOS 8.570488 [70:23]
Experience Classicsonline

The best of Mendelssohn can be found in the chamber music. These vibrant, brilliantly played performances bring further confirmation of the rewards this repertoire can bring. This prolific composer is known by only a small proportion of his remarkable output – though with luck that should be challenged during the bicentenary year of 2009 – and it is always rewarding to explore beyond the well-known pieces. Ample proof of this is found in the string quintets. 

The disc begins with the finer of the two works, the Quintet in B flat from 1845. This is among a host of compositions that challenge the misconception that there was a falling-off in quality in the music dating from the later phase of Mendelssohn’s tragically short life - he died at only 38. The sheer Úlan with which this piece opens is breathtaking. The music requires playing of a high order to make its mark, and it receives this from the Fine Arts Quartet and their guest violist, Danielo Rossi. 

In his quintets Mendelssohn opts for Mozart’s extra viola rather than Schubert’s extra cello, and the results are richly satisfying in terms of texture and sonority. The Adagio, positioned third in the sequence of four movements, gains particular reward in this regard, aided by a warmly atmospheric recording. While as a whole this fine performance does not quite capture the spirit and vitality of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble (Philips 420 400 2), the coupling of the two quintets has an obvious appeal, whereas the Academy offers the famous and splendid Octet. 

The Quintet No. 1 is another composition, like the Octet, that comes from Mendelssohn’s gloriously productive teenage years. For a child prodigy composer, we should go to Mendelssohn, rather than to Mozart. This music is fresh and alive, and shares so many of the general characteristics of its successor from twenty years later that it is tempting to suggest that he modelled the one composition on the other. In the process of its creation the Quintet no. 1 lost a Minuetto and gained an Intermezzo, so a further attraction is that the alternative movement is included as an appendix. The Intermezzo, at Andante sostenuto, is the slow movement the original version lacked, and therefore it changes the perspective and balance of the whole work, with its refinement and elegance. 

The booklet contains all the essential information, but in the English version of the notes there is a half empty page and a very small font size. This makes no sense, and betrays a lack of editorial guile. 

Terry Barfoot 

see also Review by Simon Thompson





Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing




Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.